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                                              Volume 1, Issue8                September 3, 2008

Editor-in-Chief, H. Edward Goldberg
Copy Editor, Judith Goldberg

Past Issues ? Click here


This month’s newsletter introduces two brand new products that I believe are going to have major impacts on the AEC/O industry.

  • Autodesk QTO (Quantity Takeoff) is a well priced, estimating, project checking, and information retrieval solution for Revit, AutoCAD Architecture, and Civil 3D.


  • Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES), a leading world provider of integrated performance analysis software and consulting services for sustainable building design, has developed a plug-in for Google SketchUp.


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Autodesk has quietly entered the BIM estimating arena with its new QTO (Quantity Takeoff) software solution.

For the past year Autodesk has been test marketing QTO to select construction companies. Not only has QTO been well received by this sector, the architects with whom these companies collaborate have also expressed interest in this solution.

Autodesk Quantity Takeoff software enables cost estimators to bring together design data, high-quality images, and precise design information from design applications such as AutoCAD, AutoCAD Architecture, Revit® Architecture, and Civil 3D, as well as other CAD data and image formats. With Autodesk Quantity Takeoff, estimators can take advantage of digital property data to measure, count, and price building objects such as walls, doors, and windows, automatically or manually. The results can be printed, exported to Microsoft® Excel® software, or published to DWF™ file format.

DWF file format vs. IFC file format.
QTO, which is in its second iteration, was wholly developed, in house, by Autodesk’s research and development team. What makes this program special is its use of Autodesk’s DWF (Design Web Format) file format for transfer of information from AutoCAD, AutoCAD Architecture, Revit® Architecture, and Civil 3D. Evidently the DWF format has always been engineered for object information transfer. This capability trumps the National BIM Standard which is developing the IFC (Industry Foundation Class) file format for BIM information transfer. The IFC format is being pursued primarily because the US government wants a public file format. Not many of the AEC software developers that I interviewed are enthusiastic about the IFCs. The IFCs, as well as the National BIM Standard, are being developed by a team of volunteers instead of by a profit making business enterprise, a method which, in my opinion, is vulnerable to fragmentation of the final solution. Autodesk, in my opinion, is best positioned to come up with an industry standardized BIM information file transfer solution such as its DWF just as Adobe was best positioned to come up with the government acceptable PDF format for 2D information transfer.

QTO features

Dynamic Counting
Autodesk Quantity Takeoff software enables quick quantifying of all design data related to a project. Unlimited component subassemblies enable catego­rization and counting of materials to a significant level of detail. The Search Takeoff function enables rapid takeoff of intelligent drawing objects, while the Manual Takeoff function supports non-intelligent image formats such as JPG and TIF.

Share, Query, and Clarify
Autodesk Quantity Takeoff automatically gener­ates quantities linked to specific objects, enabling fast, efficient change management. One can mark up and round-trip comments with integrated, redlining tools, and visually cross-reference individual objects and items.

Multi-format Quantity Reports
Autodesk Quantity Takeoff includes flexible reporting capabilities, so estimators can run high-level summaries and detailed quantity reports. Estimators can export their report results to Microsoft Excel or publish to DWF file format.

A contractor, owner, or architect like myself, who utilizes AutoCAD, AutoCAD Architecture, AutoCAD MEP, Revit® Architecture, Revit Structural, and MEP, or Civil 3D, can benefit from this product. QTO can be configured to do any size estimate and also allows for checking a BIM model for accuracy. Data can be sent to any of the project management, or estimating systems, or output as an Excel “spread sheet” file. QTO will also take in component information from cost analysis services such as RS Means.  Given that there are 135,000 listed estimators in the USA alone, and perhaps thousands more professionals like myself who need to estimate while designing, Autodesk, in my opinion, has found a valuable niche. The cost of QTO is $2,000.00 per seat.

The QTO concept:

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QTO Search TAKEOFF.jpg



Estimates are made in QTO’s Workbook which is dynamically linked to the model navigator

This article is just an overview of this important new program. Be sure to take a look at this solution, I give it 5 out of 5 stars, and highly recommend it. To learn more about Autodesk Quantity Takeoff, please visit:



Revolutionary new plug-in for Google SketchUp by Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES) copy

Back in the late 1990’s when I was writing the AEC column for CADALYST, I was the first AEC Industry analyst to talk about SketchUp. I literally stumbled over the program when I met developer Brad Shell (the original CEO of SketchUp) in a parking lot in Philadelphia. Brad was in town to test the waters on a new idea he had at an AEC Systems conference. Several months later, I was able to try out the SketchUp program, and became a big fan. Today, other industry programs such as Revit, Vectorworks, or ArchiCAD, have developed the capability to create buildings directly in BIM authoring software just as easily as in Sketch-Up, with the added advantage of circumventing the need to transfer data. However, with the new IES SketchUp plug-in I have gotten excited about SketchUp all over again. 

Why SketchUp?  What is the impact of the IES / SketchUp plug-in?
From my conversations with hundreds of professionals, SketchUp is very popular with the design decision makers. In many cases, the project leader will often pass his/her ideas off to the persons operating the BIM authoring software by first designing in Google SketchUp. This program is still the easiest design software with which to create. In addition, Google SketchUp is engineered to work in concert with Google Earth. By implementing the first energy analysis tools for SketchUp, IES has opened up a whole new market niche.

Average consumers, such as homeowners, can take advantage of the FREE SketchUp modeler along with the FREE plug-in from IES . Professionals will want to utilize the full capacity of these tools with the combination of SketchUp Pro at $495 and the IES toolkits at $1000 per seat. Start off with the free VE-Ware plug in, and get a free Energy/Carbon Analysis, and free 2030 Challenge Assessment for your SketchUp and Revit models. You can then send this information upstream to your Revit or SketchUp model where, you can do a higher level of analysis utilizing the IES VE-Toolkits. Finally, a full Environmental Virtual Suite targets the engineering profession.






What does the free VE Ware plug-in offer?

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Utilizing the IES Plug-in, you can get a free Energy/Carbon Analysis, and free 2030 Challenge Assessment from your SketchUp and Revit models.


What does the $1,000 VE-Toolkit offer?

  • Low cost sustainable tool from IES
  •  Entry to IES <Virtual Environment> suite
  •  Connectivity:
    •  Google SketchUp 6
    •  Google SketchUp Pro 6
    •  Autodesk Revit Architecture 2009
    •  Autodesk Revit MEP 2009
    • gbXML
  •  Analysis capabilities:
    •  Energy usage
    •  Carbon emissions
    •  LEEDTM Daylighting
    •  Solar shading analysis
      •  Solar penetration – New Feature
    •  Daylighting assessment
      •  Light penetration – New Feature
    •  Heating and Cooling Loads
      •  ASHRAE Heat Balance Method
      •  CIBSE Heating and Cooling Loads
  •  Benchmark capabilities:
    •  Architecture 2030 Challenge – New Feature

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 en Hall from Gensler Architects, an IES customer and beta tester of the SketchUp integration, commented: “This new tool means we now have the ability to integrate building performance analysis from early conceptual design using SketchUp, through our entire design process using Revit Architecture.  Faster feedback in design affords more opportunity to innovate with sustainability in mind.  This means not only can we make the right decisions in the first place, we can make the right decision at every step in the process.”

Again I am giving 5 out of 5 stars and highly recommending this IES product.

The IES SketchUp plug-in is available to download from:
Google SketchUp is available to download from:

This plug-in is a public beta and is being refined over the coming months.


About Ed:

I am a well known analyst in the AEC Industry, having been a journalist and lecturer in this arena for the past 12 years.  In my primary occupation as an Architect, I use the cutting edge digital technology about which I write, for the design and construction of buildings. I have been a Licensed Architect for 30 years, and have designed and/or built dozens of commercial, multifamily, and rehab projects. I also headed the CAD and Multimedia Department at Carroll Community College and the Industrial Design Department at Towson University. For many years I wrote the AEC column in CADALYST magazine. I authored seven books, in as many years, on AutoCAD Architecture (formally Architectural Desktop), for publisher Prentice Hall. My new Revit Architecture 2009 book is on sale now.

I continue to attend key industry events and keep abreast of the newest developments. If you see me at an event, please come over and chat with me; I like people, and would enjoy meeting you. You can recognize me by my trademark hat – black in winter, and white in summer.

Please take a look at my Web Site:

© 2007 H. Edward Goldberg AIA, NCARB, Ed’s Independent Voice. All rights reserved



Architecture Exchange East '08: Richmond Virginia
November 2008
Ed will be giving a seminar

Estimating with Revit & utilizing Acrobat 9 with Acrobat.
1.5 LU
Presented by
H. Edward Goldberg AIA, NCARB,

HEGRA Architects &
Ed’s Independent Voice


Ed Goldberg’s new Revit 2009 book is now available.

For information go to
Purchase at discount from: